tv Tavis Smiley PBS November 9, 2012 2:30pm-3:00pm PST
tonight, what we can expect with a second term from obama in the white house. we have amy goodman. obama has to set a second agenda. aboutodman's recent book attacks is called "the silence and jordy." -- "the silenced majority." >> there is a saying that dr. king had that said there is always the right time to do the right thing. i just try to live my life every day by doing the right thing. we know that we are only halfway to completely eliminate hunger, and we have a lot of work to do. walmart committed $2 billion to fighting hunger in the u.s. as we work together, we can stamp hunger out. >> and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you.
tavis: for more tonight on the election of 2012 and what it means beyond the results, i am pleased to be joined by amy goodman. she is the host of "democracy now!" and her new book is called "the silent majority." she joins us from new york. good to have you back on this program. >> it is great to be with you, tavis. tavis: there so as to talk about. your thoughts on what happened this week, giuliani presidential race and whether you were surprised by any of the results. >> i definitely thought that president obama would win. when you look at what mitt
romney said along the way, when you looked at his actions, when you look at the 47%, i wondered if he would win, if his number would be 47%, talking about the people who would not vote for him. but president obama, now in his second term, i think presents us an extremely interesting challenge to many of the people who voted for him. i mean, you now have the community organizer in chief as the commander-in-chief. that started in 2008. the question is who does the community organizing now. i think president obama himself laid out the challenge to people. it happened when he was running for office in 2008. he was in the backyard of someone's house in new jersey at a meet and greet and somebody
raised their hand and said what will you do about the middle east? and he relayed this story, which i had heard from harry belafonte who heard it from eleanor roosevelt. and she had told harry this story, that president obama related in the backyard, that she had brought a philip randolph to meet with fdr. and a philip randolph was the biggest organizer of the 20th- century. he organized the march on washington. and he spoke to fdr and told him about the condition of black people in this country, working people in this country. and fdr said i don't disagree with anything you said, but you have to make me do it. this is a story that barack obama, who was a senator then running for president, responded and said make me do it.
make me do it. and i think that is the challenge of this second term. who will have president obama's here? it is not about what is in his heart or what he believes. he is a community organizer. he did not -- he responds to demand. power concedes nothing without a demand. it never has and it never will. and that is, i think, the challenge of the many different groups that actually elected him. i think the first time around, in 2008, people were shocked. they were exhausted. and they also saw a real right- wing backlash against president obama that they did not want to contribute to. that was racist as well. you know, the birth or movement, you cannot be from here. who wants to back that? now it is four years later and
the question is what will president obama do? it is not will he accomplished, but what will his administration allow everyone to accomplish that in 2008, i think people felt they had hit their heads against a brick wall for so long. the wall became a door. the door opened a crack. people wondered if it would swing open or be slammed shut? it is up to force more powerful than the present of the united states. that is people organized around this country. they have an opportunity now. they saw that will about to be put in place which was mitt romney and they opted for something else. they opted for the door. but the question is will they kicked it open? that is the question right now. there are two forces more powerful than the most powerful person on earth. organize people and the actual force of nature. and that is what we experienced
in new york this past week. super storm sandy. and this is very serious. for example, what clementine's -- what climate change means for everyone. when you have the force of the people, that can change america. tavis: if i had a dime for every time i heard somebody who has said this in the last four years, i would be independently wealthy. what you have just shared now, respectfully, that we have to make him do it, that we have to push him and hold them accountable and we did not do our job pushing him enough. here's the problem i have with that statement. every time someone says we did not pushing hard enough, the people who typically say that are the progressives who are responsible for pushing him in the first place. so when somebody from labor's as we did not pushing hard enough, i want to say, well, where were you? so the people who are said to me
we did not wish to be enough in the first term of the same people who were responsible for doing that we're progressive causes are involved. if we have been saying this for the past four years, that we did not portion enough, why am i to believe now that they are not prepared to do that in the next four years? >> i think the door that is open a crack, people recognize it will be closed. and it is the critical moment in time. and it also converges with all of these other issues. my book is called -- is a book of columns called "the silent majority. " we called it that because i really do believe that those who are deeply concerned about war, those who are concerned about the growing inequality in this country, those who are concerned about climate change, about the super storms we are
experiencing, the dust bowl conditions of the midwest, the raging fires from california to colorado, the fate of the earth -- those who are concerned about these issues are not a fringe minority. not even a silent majority. but the silenced majority, silenced by the corporate media which is why we have to take it back. and that is a critical part of all of this. demanding that the meeting opened up and provide a forum for people to speak for themselves. i want to give an example of the first day of the democratic convention in charlotte. i was going inside -- it was about to be opened and i got a text that there would be in action right outside near the convention center. it is often more interesting to be outside than in. and this bus pulls up and it has butterflies all over it. it is the undocubus and.
undocumented immigrants to get out of the bus very quickly. they were inspired by the young dreamers, the high school and college students who sat in at president obama's campaign offices demanding that the dream act be passed. they risked more than a rest. they were incredibly brave. the risk deportation, often to countries that they did not even know. maybe they moved here when there were six months or maybe a year old. they did it because they were demanding a fair compassionate immigration policy in this country. president obama, i think, was humiliated by this. he was a community organizer. the immigrants that are doing this, i think, represents the modern-day civil rights movement and he understood their power. so months ago, he said -- he issued a kind of executive order that said undocumented immigrants 30 years or younger,
if they meet certain criteria, can get deferred action. they can stay illegally in this country for a few years and work and study and not be afraid of deportation. it was a tremendous victory for these young people. but the one more and they're not stopping. they are demanding passage of the dream act. this bus brought them and their parents. it was a family affair and they got out of the bus quickly. i was talking with the first woman came out of the bus and asking her why are you doing this. a media personality came up to me. i cannot even call them journalists. he said, what do they want? what are they doing? i said, they are about to get arrested. and he said, what are they asking for? i said, why don't you ask them? i was interviewing one woman named rosie carasco. and she replied i want to know what kind of legacy president
obama wants to lead. how want to know if he is the president that deported more presence than any president in history or the president that sided with the immigrants. pretty eloquent. and this media personality started taking notes. why is it so hard for them to talk to people at the target end of history, at the heart of the story. these pundits, we get on the networks, who know so little about someone's, explaining the world was and getting it so wrong. so we need to get on the media as well and demand that they own up. tavis: to your point about the story of rosie and her saying to this media personality, to use your phrase, that she wanted to know what the president would have as his legacy, that is the ultimate question. in the second time, it is about the legacy. tell me what you think. i cannot get inside his head, as
much as i have talked to him over the years, read all of his books and interview him over the years. what is your sense at least of what he wants his legacy to be. clearly, that is clearly what he will do in his second term. he really has not laid out an agenda specifically of what he wants to do in the second term. i suspect that will come in the coming weeks. it certainly will, the state of the union address. we need to wait to hear from him exactly what your celibacy to be. what is your sense and -- what is your sense -- we need to wait to hear from him exactly what his legacy will be. what is your sense? >> it is about people all over this country want. i think president obama has shown over the years, even before he was president, again, that he responds to demand.
you saw how difficult it was for him dealing with the republicans at the beginning and how much in that direction he went. where were the people organizing? who i, again, think is the majority of the people in this country. in the last year, we have seen remarkable movements, from the arab spring two -- which also inspired the wisconsin uprising. president obama did not go there and he was criticized for this and he was extremely cautious. but it is a mass movement that i don't think we have seen the end up. in fact, i think this week we saw one of the results of it and it was the election of tammy baldwin, the congress member from wisconsin who took on the four-time gov. tommy thompson.
and tammy baldwin will now be the first openly gay senator in this country. and she is the first woman senator from wisconsin. she has made history. but it does not only about electoral politics. what happened in wisconsin was profound. people across the political spectrum organizing against the attack on public unions that we are seeing everywhere, especially on teachers, as if there is a new terrorist. teachers, when you think of the teachers i think when i -- i think of the revered when i was growing up, the ones that are thought of as wrecking society, that is not how the people in wisconsin felt. it took over the capitol building. i saw some of the biggest man i had ever seen in my life, the oshkosh prison guards, and i said to them what are you doing in the capitol building? taking it over. so who do vote for? >gov. walker.
why? he did not say that he would go after our teachers and their wives and our nurses. i saw someone in the freezing cold outside, an older gentleman with white parents over glasses marching with a sign saying "irs auditors against walker. " and you knew that gov. walker was in trouble. president obama did not swooping in and join people. it was surprising. when he ran for president, he said he would be running with -- he would be joining the picket line with people. and you see what happened in september-october 2011. thousands of people forming a circle around the white house, a ring around the rose garden, demanding that president obama halt the keystone xl pipeline from alberta, canada to the gulf of mexico. and then people moved on to new york and that was occupied.
that was occupy wall street. that was significant. in the corporate media, there was silence and then they mocked them. but i do not think there has been a more successful slogan of the movement in history -- we are the 99%. any madison avenue pr exec would rule to be the one credited with that expression. and it is occupied the language. certainly occupy some of the political rhetoric that president obama has used. he is very aware of this. where that goes now is not clear. mohammed ghandi said it about the media -- first they ignore you, then a fight you, then you win. i think there's a lot that is happening on the ground. public let's talk about media. most americans are fully aware of the attack that public media
would have come under had mr. romney won. as i sit here on pbs tonight, of course, we are very sensitive. but it was clear what direction mr. romney wanted to move in, where public media is concerned, had he been elected president. the first question is whether or not public meeting is safe, is big bird safe now that mr. irani lost? but more broadly -- now that mr. romney lost? but more broadly, talk about the democracy of media, why it is. you do public media. i do every day. why is it easier for a black man to be president of the united states than it is to host public tv your public radio show in cities across the country? talk about public media because it came under attack during the campaign. >> i have just come from a 100-
city tour as we speak to people and hear what they have to say. do fund-raisers for public radio and television stations. like all media, it has to open up to provide a forum for people to speak for themselves. i see media as a huge kitchen table that stretches across the globe, that we all sit around and debate and discuss the most important issues of the day. war and peace, life and death, and anything less than that is a disservice to the servicemen and women of this country who cannot have these debates on military bases on whether they will be sent to kill or be killed, whether they will be sent to live or die. anything less would be a disservice to a democratic society. public media should be the model for all of the media. it should be diverse.
it should not just give voice to the minority elites in washington. i am not talking about people of color either. i am talking about a small elite minority in washington. because there is this vast -- not only america, the people all over the world -- media is so important. it is the way we learn about the world outside of our family and friends. and it has to be -- we have to be able to see the rest of the world through something other than a corporate loans. in terms of national security, -- corporate lens. in terms of national security, the rest of the world needs to be able to see us through an independent lens as well. it is the reason it was fought for and developed and set aside in the 1960's. activists pushed lyndon johnson
to set apart of the sea -- to set a part of the spectrum aside in the commercial media that there was the educational television their ranges from big bird and educational programming from kids but too long form documentary's and talk shows like yours, where you are not just concerned about the sound bite, but the whole meal. people who are the heart of the story are not so practiced and being able to make the point in eight seconds. and it is a gift to be able to hear what people have to say and especially someone who is not just repeating the consensus in washington. they need more than eight seconds so anyone will know what they are talking about and explain what it is that they are seeing. we need to take on these critical issues. tavis: i want to turn back to the politics in washington. very quickly, how do you respond to the accusation level that you saw that we are
advocacy journalists? i just got a letter from the interim managing editor @ "current magazine." it is the bible for public media. the editor sent me a letter recently asking me if i would respond to the president and general manager at wbez who wrote a piece talking about you and talking about me and a few others who he labels as advocate journalist and that public radio and public tv is no place for advocacy journalism. how do you respond to that kind of critique? >> i think about the issue of climate change. "the democracy now!" we have been to every climate change summit. thousands of people gathered from around the world. they look at the united states as so backward that, in the
united states, we are still debating whether actually climate change exists. so we give voice will of the people who are working on this issue of global warming and you could say, well then, you are taking a position. you're taking a position if you say the world is not flat. but there is a consensus now that the world is not flat, so you don't have to debate that issue. i think it is so interesting that, until last week when the super storm hit the east coast and now mayor bloomberg, you know, switched his allegiance and said he would support president obama and the cover of "bloomberg business week" was stupid."bal warming, you are saying that global warming exists so you should debate it. i think that there is much more interesting debate to be had,
like we accept global warming. now let's debate with the solutions are. i cannot think of a greater group of advocacy journalists than those in the corporate media, for example, and the commercial media. they are telling you how social security has to be ended with to deal with medicare because this is what will deplete the reserves of this country. they are taking very serious positions. it is not about whether you take a position. i think, as a journalist, it is whether you are fair, whether you are accurate and to provide people a forum to express themselves, to fairly represent themselves. that is what i think journalism should be all about. tavis: i accept that. tell me why you are hopeful, no matter how hard the president gets course, that he can get anything done in the next four years, before it becomes a lame duck in two years.
can he get anything done? >> i think it should not just be about the battles he has in congress. a lot is said about the gridlock. i think the problem is the bipartisan consensus in washington. because that consensus does not represent most people in this country. just look at the presidential debate. neither major party presidential candidate even mentioned climate change. that is a good example of how the debate has to go way beyond what they are doing about it in washington. look at the example poverty. we have to be very serious about opening the debate and going beyond the bickering that goes on in washington, d.c. because we are talking about the fate of the planet. tavis: her name is amy goodman, the host of "democracy now!" and the author of the latest text called "de silenced majority." it is always good to have the
only program. i know we will be doing it again. >> it is so good to be with you, tavis. tavis: you can download our app on the itunes app store. as always, keep the faith. >> for more information on today's show, visit tavis smiley at pbs.org. tavis: hi, i'm tavis smiley. join me next time for a conversation with eugene jarecki. >> there is a saying that dr. king had that said there is always the right time to do the right thing. i just try to live my life every day by doing the right thing. we know that we are only halfway to completely eliminate hunger, and we have a lot of work to do. walmart committed $2 billion to fighting hunger in the u.s. as we work together, we can stamp hunger out.